The ongoing political and economic uncertainty is now becoming a real challenge for many businesses in the UK, with the latest Government figures showing that productivity is falling. In fact it has done so for two successive quarters.

Our own Small Business Index research, shows that confidence has fallen through the floor. We also know that businesses – and small firms in particular – are reeling from a raft of new cost increases and reporting requirements.

It’s hardly surprising then, that productivity has taken a pounding.

So, what can be done, given that uncertainty is the only certain thing at the moment?

There are a number of key areas that need to be addressed: skills development – particularly management and leadership; communications infrastructure – both physical and digital; and putting paid to bad business practices such as late payments.

Government has a key role to play. After all, productivity cannot move forwards if the conditions for doing business in the UK are going backwards. Government and policymakers need to step up and do more to back British businesses. We need to foster a more entrepreneurial culture. One that provides appropriate support for start-ups, high-growth companies and also mature businesses that still require help and advice to grow, to recruit and to take forward their business plans. However, as well as national Government action, all of this requires a robust and comprehensive business support offering at the local level, tailored to local challenges and opportunities.

Worcestershire Local Enterprise Partnership and Growth Hub are ideally placed to be the focal point for this County’s business needs. With continued national Government backing they will have the resources needed to meet the needs of local businesses, improve the local business environment and to ensure Worcestershire enterprises can thrive.

Universities and business schools are also well-placed to play a meaningful role in supporting small businesses – both as anchor institutions in their local economies and also as deliver bodies for tailored business support.

With so much uncertainty at the international and national levels, anything we can do to provide continuity of business support and success at the local level can only be a good thing.

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